The effects of the pandemic on the cinema

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From 20 to 22 July, the Faculty of Geography and History of the University of Barcelona will hold the 8th International Congress of History and Cinema , under the title Civilizational collapses. When dystopia leaves the screen. Joan Guàrdia, rector of the UB, will close the event, which is directed by Magí Crusells, lecturer of the Section of Contemporary History and Today’s World and director of the Research Centre Film-History, and Andreu Mayayo, professor at the Department of History and Archaeology and director of the Centre for International Historical Studies (CEHI).

This is a consolidated congress which is held every two years and it features monographic topics, following the legacy from previous editions led by Josep M. Caparrós, professor of Contemporary History and Cinema, who passed away four years ago. The event will feature conferences by nearly fifty participants —from Europe and America— in five thematic areas: Pandemics; Crisis of the productive model and climate emergency; War conflicts and nuclear threat; Artificial intelligence and biotechnology in a networked world; and COVID-19 and audiovisual production.

Attendance is free and open to the general audience. The event will be streamed on the Youtube channel of the Section of Contemporary History and Today’s World, and once the conferences are over they will be available on the same channel as well.

As professor Crusells notes, "the congress aims to address the impact of the pandemic on a series of themes related to the audiovisual industry. Ranging from the fall of the premieres to the closing of cinemas, the popularization of streaming and the use of social networks as means of information, as well as the impact of home confinement regarding the university education".

The producer Edmon Roch will open the congress with the conference "El impacto de la pandemia: el futuro del cine como espectáculo". With more than fifty-five years of experience in the sector, he has been a producer in well-known projects such as El niño, Lope, Bruc, Séptimo, Biutiful, Atrapa la bandera, the Tadeo Jones saga and Garbo, el espia, and has received the Goya and Gaudí awards to the top documentary, as well as the Golden Giraldillo for Best European Documentary.

Also, Rafael de España, doctor in Medicine and Contemporary History, and honorary president of the Research Centre Film-History, will talk about "El enemigo invisible: las epidemias como motivo cinematográfico", showing several extracts from films and the interest the seventh art dedicated to this topic.

Then, the director of the audiovisual and cultural production company DOCME Films, Ricard Mamblona, will speak about "El impacto de la COVID-19 dentro de la industria audiovisual: de la incerteza a las oportunidades". Mamblona stands out as producer and director of the documentary series Connexió Clínic, in which the main characters are the workers of the Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, a university centre of the UB.

András Lénárt, professor at the Department of Hispanic Studies at the University of Szeged (Hungary) and president of the International Federation for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (FIEALC), will give the conference "A less than peaceful coexistence. Relations between nature, climate change and humanity in film". For Lénárt, climate change is the greatest threat we are currently facing on the planet.

Finally, it is worth mentioning the lecture by Complutense University professor Elisabetta Di Minico, who will present "Antiutopia and Control: Political Dystopia", focusing on the relationship between fiction and history, with special attention to issues such as control, violence and gender.